Opinions: Hindsight: Fueling up our wallets


Gas prices reach a new low in month, Nov. 3. To think that $3.25 used to be the usual for unleaded…yikes!

My family and I are a perfect example of today’s middle class, and even though we are middle class, every penny counts.

Today, Nov. 5, the price for unleaded gas per gallon is $2.94.

$2.94 is still strongly leaning towards $3, but as long as the price stays under $3, I’m not complaining whatsoever. Gas prices have dropped a good amount since last year, and it’s benefiting my middle class family.

Last year for the month of November, the average price for unleaded gas in Missouri was $3.11 per gallon, according to MissouriGasPrices.com. As of Nov. 5,  the average price of unleaded gas per gallon was $2.89. This drop within only one year makes me happy not only because I will be able to pay for my gas when I turn 16 but also because cheaper gas helps my mom save her hard earned cash.

We all know I am not a math fan, but let’s do some to illustrate my point:

  • $3.11-$2.89=a savings of $.22
  • $.22 x 21 gallons a tank for my family’s Volvo= a savings of $4.62 every time we will refill the tank
  • We fill up twice a week for a savings of $36.96 for the month
  • $36.96 x 12=a savings of $443.52 for the year

(Keep that figure in mind for my point later.)

My mother is a single mom raising two teenagers. Expenses are limited because she has to pay for our groceries, buy our clothes, give us lunch money, and of course, drive us everywhere.

Until I turn 16 and get my driver’s license, my mother is the one that pays for gas to get me where I need to go.

With gas prices being lower now, it’s easier for my mom to fill up her tank without worrying about the expense. Don’t get me wrong though, she’s not always willing to drive me all the way out to Chesterfield or Wildwood and so on.

Cheaper gas also makes traveling a lot easier and less expensive. For Thanksgiving, my family and I are making the yearly drive to Texas, where my aunt, uncle and cousins live. The drive is exactly 582 miles (without traffic), 8 hours and 49 minutes according to Google maps.

Time for some more math:

  • $2.89 x 21 gallons a tank for my family’s Volvo=$60.69 a tank
  • The trip to Texas requires 3.7 tanks at a minimum x $60.69=$224.55

So we can take two trips to Texas using the savings from lower gas prices.

When we don’t have to worry about the expense of gas so much, we have more money to spend on things like groceries, clothes or maybe unneeded items like more jewelry to add to the collection or another fishing rod just because. Forget a mani-pedi or buy another Xbox game, with the money I saved on gas I can buy a new wardrobe for every season. 

My family and I aren’t on a very tight budget, but having that extra cash in our pocket gives us a little more room to breathe.